Joseph Lowthian Hudson

Have you ever wondered how an English merchant can become American automotive industry pioneer? Well, Joseph Lowthian Hudson certainly had an interesting life. As a nine year old, he moved with his family from Newcastle upon Tyne in England to Hamilton, Canada.

The family business was merchandising various items and Joseph showed great potential for it. He learned the trade in 1860s, when the entire family again relocated to Michigan. At the age of 35, Joseph Lowthian Hudson made a brilliant business venture inside a shop at the Detroit Opera House.

He founded Hudson's Department Stores in 1881, selling primarily low priced items with a favorable return policy. The store was a complete success which provided him enough capital to invest in different sectors.

In 1909, Joseph Lowthian Hudson invested the majority of capital for the new car manufacturer company led by Roy D. Chapin. The company was named accordingly as the Hudson Motor Car Company. Having great understanding of commerce Joseph recognized an opportunity in the new gasoline powered vehicle technology.

He believed that there would be a strong market for cars priced under $1,000. Hudson Twenty model was the realization of an idea to make highly affordable solid automobiles. The 4,508 vehicles sold in 1910 was the record first year's production in the American automotive history. On the global scale, Hudson Motor Car Company started at 17th place in the world of car manufacturers.

This incredible achievement continued the following year, when more than 6,400 models were sold. People loved the innovations and believed that Joseph Hudson's name stands for quality. After all, he was the wealthiest merchant in Detroit.

Roy Chapin gave buyers a lot of reason for satisfaction with groundbreaking equipment such as dual brakes, oil pressure and generator warning lights. The first balanced crankshaft allowed the development of the Hudson Super Six engine in 1916. This fantastic piece of engineering worked a higher speed while keeping smooth and powerful operation.

The company peaked in 1929, when Hudson produced over 300,000 cars in a single year. Unfortunately, Joseph Lowthian Hudson never lived to see his company fully develop, since he passed away on July 5, 1912. On a business trip in Europe he died from a lung problem.

Decades later, Hudson Motor Car Company merged with Nash Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors Corporation in 1954. The Hudson name remained primarily connected with shopping and fashion in Detroit. It also marked a man who believed in a new automobile technology and helped to develop it at the very beginning. Joseph Lowthian Hudson was a legend, a benefactor and one of the most successful businessmen in the city's history.

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